Interview 1357 – Bill Ottman on Minds.com

05/08/201818 Comments

Continuing The Corbett Report‘s exploration of alternative social media platforms, today James talks to Bill Ottman about Minds.com.

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  1. HomeRemedySupply says:

    I like “Intro Music” of these explorations regarding alternative social media platforms.

    (…and that was good color on Corbett’s shirt for a video.)

    Minds.com seems really cool.
    I may check it out.

  2. scpat says:

    I like this guy Bill. Seems like a cool dude. Based off of these recent social media site interviews, Minds seems like the best to me. I really liked Bill’s philosophy and approach to the complexities of creating and running a social media platform.

  3. wall says:

    Cover Parkland!

  4. manbearpig says:

    Echoing the comments above and despite the repeated use of the words “incentiving” and “rewards”, this platform seems somehow more appealing than the others mentioned in this series.

    I really must take the leap and try…

    At least to have some vague idea of what I’m commenting on.

    Though I’m nuts about science fiction, practically speaking I’m pretty technically illiterate.

    On another completely different note,

    as I’ve commented rather extensively on my notion of what a gatekeeper is, I feel compelled to point out that obviously, as employed in this video, a Gatekeeper is first and foremost an entity that controls access to information.

    In hierarchical terms, the information interpreter/perception management agent could be considered the second definition after the above, more common one.

  5. zapped says:

    Never been big on social media from the get go so I stay in go mode. For those who are interested it appears that Minds.com looks like a great alternative compared to the usual dusty ol’ worn out typical’s, with usual content and group think bundled up into one bizarre seemingly joyous occasion, with emphasis on “occasion”, as in “occasionally” present and’or joyous for your occasional social needs. Great info none the less James, as usual, and a thank you very mucho!

  6. anonymint says:

    The major flaw of Minds is that the rewards are based on user activity, but this activity can be automated with bots. There’s no possible way for algorithm to distinguish between a human and bot for activity. Any algorithm that can be devised to detect a bot, can be gamed by the bot because the bot knows what the algorithm is looking for.

    Thus if these Minds token rewards are valuable, then we will see Minds populated mostly by bots and spam.

    Thus when he claims a million users, just as is the case for Steem, most of these are bots. Steem probably only has less than 10,000 human users and Minds probably roughly the same given Steem has 4 times higher Alexa traffic ranking than Minds. Steem has a million accounts, but only 60,000 are active and most of that 60,000 are bots and sock puppet accounts that whales create to upvote their own blogs surreptitiously so they can obscure that they taking most of the rewards in the system.

    All of these so called decentralized social networks are NOT decentralized and they are NOT actually onboarding significant number of users.

    The mainstream has no interest in this decentralization buzzword yet. There’s a hen-egg issue in that users want to be where the other users they know are. A social network with 10,000 users is entirely irrelevant.

    For a more sobering viewpoint:

    https://medium.com/vidme/goodbye-for-now-120b40becafa

  7. zyxzevn says:

    All alternatives seem to forget why people want to go to a website in the first place.

    Why would you use any website at all?

    This is a question to anyone.

    For me it is:

    1) Interesting information. That is why I have corbett report on my daily list of websites that I visit.

    2) Funny pictures. Beautiful pictures. Reddit used to be my favorite for that, but now I go to imgur instead.

    3) Contact with people that I know. I use my phone, whatsapp. Facebook is horrible. I see information of lots of people that I don’t know. Maybe attractive for the new generation or people with some kind of life-style.

    4) Finding new interesting information. This is very specific. I see a lot of articles about things that I am not interested in, on almost any website. With reddit or vote I can see only certain subreddits. Or on youtube certain channels (like corbett report).

    5) Some information makes a website less attractive. I unlisted a lot on reddit, especially /r/politics and /r/bestof . It is all just propaganda. On voat I don’t like the continuous insulting or the violence.
    On Youtube there is a lot of “promoted” content that is also propaganda.

    6) Creative content. Youtube became popular because people could promote their music or make funny movies.

    7) Propaganda breaking content. I find some bits on bitchute, where I see reports of people in the streets where things are happening. Discussions about events. Were there staged? Why are there no victims? Why is the mainstream media so biased?

    8) Science breaking content. A lot of science is theoretical. It has not been confirmed in laboratory with overwhelming evidence. I have seen so much that is wrong with the theories that I started my own subreddit to promote a different approach to science. (Click my name)
    I see more scientific progression in alternative scientific theories that do confirm with observations. Like the electric sun. But not the very old electric-sun version (from 1900) or the very philosophical theories. This sun model works much better in predicting the weather and climate.
    There are many good alternatives. But they are suppressed just as alternative news. And because they stay small they are not seen as “real” science. They are not perfect, but need improvements instead of denial.

    9) Open source and new ideas in programming. I find them on reddit on youtube but nowhere else. Why not have open-source channels on an open-source website. Explain how unix works, what open-source programs are nice, how to find help, how to start with programming etc. Share!

    10) Some life content. In noticed that some channels on youtube started to life-stream so people can ask questions. And to collect bits of money. Make it easier. You could allow some more age-restricted (slightly sexual?) content, and your “social” website will grow beyond your wildest dreams. Remember: “the internet is for ….”.

    11) Have good sharing facilities for files and images. People love to share stuff. This will of course be difficult with copy-rights, but I want to share my own images. My own music. My own stories.
    Combine google documents with reddit.
    You can use the internal credit system to restrict the amount of “downloads” or “uploads” and the sizes.
    If you make it easy for people to create and share their own stuff, they don’t need to copy it from companies.

    12) Discussions? Maybe. Not in the normal way, as jokes, trolls, advertisers and propagandists are the most common posters.
    That is why I promoted deliberation before.
    http://cci.mit.edu/klein/deliberatorium.html
    Something like this may be used to bring people together instead of arguing about the size of Trumps ice cream.
    Discussions need structure, otherwise you are just chatting.
    You could combine it in some wikipedia like structure, where people can explain things in their own way, from their own perspective. On each perspective you can have a different problem/solution/discussion as in deliberation.
    It is different from the propaganda problem/solution tactic, because you can have alternatives to the problems and solutions. You can also add your own structure if you want to. They can all be linked.
    People could talk about the electric sun for example and understand each others view, without the need to convince each other. Instead of voting for your opinion as is common, you can (also?) give votes to people that make well structured and logical articles.

    I think there is really a market for supportive discussions instead of competing discussions. You can give “supportive” criticism by pointing out common bias or common logical fallacy in an article. For example the official model of the Sun has some clear logical errors. Like the physically imposible collision of magnetic field-lines. And the mixup of magnetic fields and electric fields. The bias is that they do hold on to certain invalid models and trust their “experts” too much.

    Essentially such a discussion website could replace wikipedia. As it allows criticism and enables different views on the same topic.

    Why would you pay for a website

    This is more difficult.

    Reasons why I would do it:

    1) To promote my own ideas.

    2) Have my own website like environment.
    Should not have a crypto-miner or virus or whatever.

    3) To promote my commercial product or service.

    4) A simple webshop?

    5) To support someone else. (I am paying Corbett now).

    6) To get a product.
    I am not someone who likes to pay for content first. But I like to support people that produce content that I like. This can be different per person.

    7) To discuss certain ideas in a friendly environment. Without money there could be certain restrictions.
    Warning: this should not give companies extra rights.

    8) To get help or service with certain problems. Like legal problems. I could place a reward, and the best answers share the reward.

    • zyxzevn says:

      There is more..

      Why would I pay for website

      9) To place information (leaks) untraceable and anonymously

      Why I would NOT use a certain website

      This is of course personal.

      1) Advertising (almost any site)

      2) Propaganda (much of reddit)

      3) No privacy

      4) Most information is about…
      a) cryptocurrency
      b) how to use this website
      c) bla bla bla

      5) Biased information (wikipedia)

      6) Futurism (almost any science website)

      7) People chatting with me uninvited (facebook / hotmail)
      I don’t want to talk all the time..

      8) Lots of unknown people connecting (social website)
      I don’t want to know everyone.

      9) Most discussions.
      I don’t want to know your biased or uninformed opinion.
      I do like supportive replies.

      10) Fake stories. (reddit / imgur)

      11) What you ate for lunch. (facebook)

      12) Websites that do social experiments (facebook)

      13) Bots. Almost any bot.

      14) Not intuitive navigation (reddit mobile, facebook mobile)

      15) Limited content. (Have only beginning of a song or other restictions).

      Etc.

    • anonymint says:

      The project I am working on is going to hit all the checkboxes on your wishlist. You will find I think my second blog on Steemit I wrote about an algorithm to do decentralized curation, so that people see stuff from like-minded people if they want to so filter. Thus there will not be one ranking-fits-all. Indeed we also want to remake Wikipedia (currently proposed names are Kno, Knol, or Pediawiki) so that there is not one canonical page for each topic. Rather users can chose which page they wish to be their canonical one. In essence, choose your own circles or groups of curators and participants. This can be significantly automated by algorithm.

      Also for the sharing I decided there is a convergence of video and music with storage in our currently proposed named STOR app. I think I have a viable decentralized solution to the copyright issue which respects copyright but does not force a centralized decision maker.

      As for your comments about monetization, please read my blog linked below.

      As some of you may surmised by now from my comments on this and prior installments of Corbett’s series on “decentralized“ social networks, I’m a software developer who has been researching in this area for the past several years and I am currently leading the decentralized development a new consensus algorithm for a ledger which I hope is actually decentralized (because I don’t think Bitcoin nor any of the other extant proof-of-stake variants are decentralized). We are also developing decentralized social media and networking on top of this novel ledger.

      You can find two recent blogs on my Steemit account “Why Crypto Tokens Are Important” and “Name YOUR decentralized social network”.

      The former is a highly detailed (if all the contained links are clicked) compendium of my reasons why the extant offerings cannot compete with the Internet behemoths and why the behemoths have no viable monetization option other than the deleterious advertising model which forces them to do evil to us. There’s even a link in that blog to my detailed exposition on why I (and researchers in academia) don’t think the extant consensus algorithms are decentralized.

      The latter blog of mine covers the naming ideas for the various social media and networking apps (aka websites and mobile apps) that we are targeting. It is a very ambitious undertaking. Buried down in the comments near the end of the blog is the final summary of the names we have more or less decided to use.

      I would also suggest that Corbett read my recent blog “Countries Vulnerable to Economic Devastation Soon” for an idea of a new topic he may want to cover in more detail, which is the coming Mini-Ice Age. Also I don’t know if he is aware of the coming short-dollar vortex which will drive the dollar sky high during the coming global debt defaults contagion.

      I am by no means wanting to compete with the Corbett Report with my blogging. I am a s/w developer. I want to do my part to help Corbett and other alternative news earn more money and get more widespread attention in a meritorious, transparent (aka open source), decentralized system of Internet applications.

      Our project is not yet at the stage where an interview would be justified. Wait for launch later this year hopefully.

      I’m an old guy, coming age 53 next month. You can find more information about myself and my career in my first blog on Steemit, just scroll down my feed of blogs.

      P.S. If Steem is offline (as it is as this moment), you can use archive.is for archived copies of my blogs.

      • zyxzevn says:

        Also software developer.
        It is good that you are working on some alternative, but I don’t exactly see how your application can fulfill all listed items.
        Maybe you can explain some more here.

        Maybe we can even work together with minds/bitchute to make this work. As open-source allows cooperation between different platforms.

        About your idea, I already disagree that it needs to have a block-chain or currency. Also it will be hard to stop any government interference as we saw how reddit has been completely manipulated by correct-the-record. If many people are fully devoted to break a discussion it will happen.

        The commercial value of a more deliberation-like forum would be very high. Not only can it replace wikileaks and give us valuable different perspectives. It can also connect us with local small companies that give us solutions. It could be creating a online market for local trades and services.

        We also have to watch out for stupid patents that are blocking all kinds of interactions. Maybe the servers would need to be placed in patent-neutral countries.

        • anonymint says:

          Maybe you can explain some more here.

          It’s more important for me to use my available time and energy to launch it and then it will be self-evident, than to try to explain more than I already have. If the points in my blogs didn’t register yet, then it probably means there is a wide gulf in our relative understanding of the issues and technologies? I mean you haven’t cited anything from my blogs and pointed out why it doesn’t address your wishlist, so it is difficult for me to guess why you think my plans will not address your wish list.

          Maybe we can even work together with minds/bitchute to make this work. As open-source allows cooperation between different platforms.

          I am all for open source and collaboration, but open source (community) is notoriously bad for design. Expert design is done by small focused teams. Open source is very good for maintenance, and for allowing new small teams to form new innovation. Fine-grained (aka small-steps) design-by-committee does not work well. Feedback from community on large-step iterations of designs is important though.

          The problem with co-opting an existing project such as Minds, is they already have inertia in a given design and community. It is difficult to turn the Titanic (i.e. to get an entrenched community to agree to radical changes).

          About your idea, I already disagree that it needs to have a block-chain or currency.

          Refute my blog which I linked for you then. I think there is no way you will scale anything without tokenization. Also incorporate my refutations of the viability of P2P distribution which I made on the Bitchute installment of this Corbett Report series. And I explained why in my blog. Even I am reading reports that Facebook is going to launch a tokenized system.

          Also it will be hard to stop any government interference as we saw how reddit has been completely manipulated by correct-the-record.

          You seem to not understand that with a decentralized ledger, then in theory the government cannot identify who to attack. There is no entity controlling the ledger. It is analogous to attacking decentralized file sharing. Reddit can be attacked because it is a centralized database controlled by an identifiable entity.

          You do not seem to understand why decentralized ledgers are crucial.

          We also have to watch out for stupid patents that are blocking all kinds of interactions.

          With permissionless decentralized node participation then it becomes an impossible Whac-A-Mole game for the antiquated nation-states to futilely play. Decentralized ledgers are the end of nation-states. I wrote a blog this past week elaborating on that point: Bitcoin rises because land is becoming worthless

          I think you need to paradigm shift your thinking about these issues. My blogs might be a good place to start.

          P.S. Lucrative compensation and vestment is available to qualified software developers. I can be contacted by interested s/w developers on Crypto.cat secure chat. Send a buddy request to username ECASH.

          • zyxzevn says:

            So you want me to search through all your post to find the interesting bits? I could not find them at first. I hoped you could point out some stuff that relate to the interesting topics.

            In your reply you talk again about block-chain and crypto-currency. While interesting they are not answers to a better communication system.

            For now they are just buzzwords, as the relationship with the solutions is not clear. They don’t seem to be a solution, because most problems are not solved by hiding them behind numbers.

            So lets rephrase the problem as I see it:

            The problem is that the information is massive.
            A lot of information is false, partially false, biased, mixed with prejudice and illogical.
            Minority reports and actual facts are often discarded due to unpopularity and bias. This can be easily influenced.
            Can I talk about the advantages of a social system in a conservative community?

            People and companies are able to infiltrate the system and push their own agendas onto people. This means that futuristic stuff (like GMO and space) will become popular, based on the wrong reasons.

            The system should be designed in such a way that it becomes clear that 911 was caused by demolitions. The evidence is extremely clear on that, but the conclusion is very unpopular.
            The 911 truth can not come to most people, because people don’t understand the physics behind it and because of the extreme bias of people that might understand it.

            So my advice is to have a structure that promotes logic reasoning and good philosophy.

            True logic allows philosophical subjects that do not have clear reasoning. And should allow for unknown and secret things, which might be filled in in different ways. It gives us the skeptical “we don’t know”, but can also be “we suspect”.

            This means that we need to restructure the presented information into clear logical structures (reasoning).
            Crypto or block-chain do not do that, they are effectively just random numbers.

            (I will copy the last bit to mix-block chain and discuss it further.)

            • anonymint says:

              In your reply you talk again about block-chain and crypto-currency. While interesting they are not answers to a better communication system.

              Again I think you don’t see the elephant in the living room. Communication requires consensus about state. Such synchronization either has to trust a centralized entity and database or we attempt permissionless, trustless ledgers that no one controls.

              Also correct free market economics is necessary for achieving optimal outcomes. Thus we need tokenization which is not controlled by any fiat.

              I’m giving you an abstract rebuttal here. I don’t have enough available free time to donate to for a long back-and-forth discussion of specific examples. I’d rather follow the principle that the proof is in the pudding.

              information […] can be easily influenced.

              This is why correct free market economics is important. Influence which is not economical will die. As it is in the current fiat systems of the world, massive debts can be foisted on the public to finance the promulgation of deleterious influence.

              Again I am giving you more of an abstract explanation.

              So my advice is to have a structure that promotes logic reasoning and good philosophy.

              What ever is economic will prosper despite your personal agenda of what the priorities of other people should be.

              Agendas are often not economically sound.

              (I will copy the last bit to mix-block chain and discuss it further.)

              I’m on Steemit, not Mix. And I will not go to a platform that is mostly dominated by backwater hideouts of ideologically blinded folks with agendas. I’m trying to create something that will be very popular and economic.

              I’m here on Corbett Report because he is doing a series on decentralized social networks and because I recognize that he is in the upper percentiles of being intelligent, articulate, and rational. So I see view him as someone worth investing my effort.

  8. Gaslight says:

    The most powerful “gatekeepers” have access to young minds in formative years. i.e.; the Federal government’s “education” system.

    Do we really think new internet platforms will increase the percentage of enlightened people over time?

    …and will it even be worth trying to talk sense into the next generation as they emerge from the State’s schools?

    Giving the system a 12 year head start in turning our kid’s minds to apple sauce is pure lunacy.

    If we’re going to get serious about increasing the EXTREMELY low number of enlightened folks, and bringing that percentage to critical mass, then I say we talk about education alternatives or nothing at all.

    Think about it when you put the kids on the bus each morning. We’re shoveling s**t against the tide until we take our children back folks.

    In the mean time, let’s keep youngsters away from the military, cannabis, and pop culture. Especially the vast majority of modern “pump-up-the-poison” music.

    • anonymint says:

      Do we really think new internet platforms will increase the percentage of enlightened people over time?

      I wrote a related blog recently: Is all virtual activity mind control?

      I say that youth are increasingly tuning out of the State schools and tuning into their own autodidactic experiences including those on the Internet which are consuming a monotonically increasing proportion of their waking hours. The Millennials are very Internet and mobile connectivity oriented. They like high tech.

      So I think we are in the process of disintermediating the State schools.

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